Graduate Admissions Spotlight: Susan Hallatt, Director of Graduate Admissions

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What I really wanted to study, when I first started thinking about college, was ACTING. I wanted to be a star, to be the next Bette Davis or Angela Lansbury. I wrote my Oscar’s acceptance speech; I could see myself sailing elegantly down those red-carpeted stairs in my black velvet dress with the long gloves and sparkling tiara, smiling benignly at all the losers, until I trip on the hemline and go a@()# over teakettle to land in Robert Redford’s lap. At least, that’s what it felt like when my parents said “Nope, acting doesn’t pay a living wage, you need to find something else.” So, I caved. I now have a degree in Broadcast Journalism, a Masters in English and an almost-Masters in History with a little Arts Management certificate thrown in. Life sure is strange.
I joke a lot about being a “perpetual student” – after all, I have been taking classes here at the College since 2006 almost without a pause. But the really cool thing I discovered when I started taking graduate classes in Fall 2006 is that I love the classroom! And I don’t want to stop. I will finish my Masters in History in May (if the gods are willing, and I can complete my thesis) and I think I will maybe look at classes in Public Administration. Or maybe Creative Writing. Heck, I might even take a swing at Computer Science! But what I know is that being in class, meeting the amazing faculty and students that roam the campus here at the College, is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. And helping others to step into this special place called Graduate Education is just icing on the cake!

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And don’t worry about the whole acting bit – I’ve seldom gone more than six months without doing at least one show, and I’ve even been lucky enough to win a couple of acting awards along the way. In fact, I am going to be in the Flowertown Players’ production of The Importance of Being Earnest at the end of September – you can see for yourself where at least some of my passion lies!!

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What is your favorite part about working in the Graduate School?

The office is full of people who are all incredibly hardworking, open-minded, and yet so different from one another, which makes each day in this office exciting.

What inspires you?

Seeing students who thought they could never come to a place like CofC and watching them grow and thrive on campus after graduation.

What does diversity mean to you?

Diversity, to me, means not just recognizing that people come from all different backgrounds and hold different perspectives, but celebrating that fact. Seeing life from a new perspective and allowing that new vision to influence your own life.

Favorite place on campus?

My office is my safe place. It makes me happy.

Any advice for new graduate students?

  • Expect to feel out of place for a bit
  • Recognize that graduate school is a job
  • “Networking” is not just a word for MBAs
  • Recognize that graduate school should not be your entire life
  • Build an online profile
  • Share what you know with others
  • Spread your wings and soar!

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